What is discouragement? This week a client said to me, “I’m hopeful, but I really don’t think anything is going to change.”

You understand. You’ve been there. Perhaps you’re there right now.

You work hard.  Pour your heart into something that’s important.  You struggle.  You fall and get back up.  You keep pressing on.  Results don’t come.  People let you down.  Circumstances work against you.  You’re limited in your ability to change or create the change you want.  You feel depleted, even exhausted.

You ask, “One more day of the same?”

That’s discouragement.


noun a loss of confidence or enthusiasm;
synonyms  dispiritedness, downheartedness, dejection, depression, demoralization, disappointment  despondency, hopelessness, lack of enthusiasm, lack of confidence, pessimism, despair, gloom, gloominess, low spirits

It’s the absence of courage.  It’s the absence of encouragement.

So may I offer you four ways to lift yourself out of discouragement.

(1) Access a part of you that knows the truth about who you really are.

It’s important that we own our choices and outcomes.  It’s invaluable to be curious and open to learning from our mistakes.  But when that critical voice inside is allowed the keys to the car, we’re destined to wind up anywhere but the destination we seek.

Stop and access a part of you that’s been with you from the beginning – a part of you that is connected with a broader reality beyond your current circumstances.  Call it Higher Self, Divine Nature, Inner Wise Parent.  This Part knows several things.

  • You are created from the same essence as the stars and the sun.
  •  You are doing the best you can.
  •  You deserve the highest quality of life possible.
  •  You are an expression of infinite love.
  • You have endless internal resources.

(2) Get accurate feedback to re-align your thinking process.

Go to someone you trust and respect to provide an accurate mirror.  Anyone who minimizes, abuses, or devalues you provides a distorted reflection – avoid this.  Find someone who can see you clearly; loves, appreciates, and respects you; and is willing to stand by you as you find your way to the change you need.

Listen carefully.  Allow yourself to be reminded of all that is good about you – your values, your strengths, and your gifts.  Take it in.

(3) Seek restoration.

Take care of yourself.  Get adequate sleep.  Nurture health.  Breathe gently. Play.

(4) Find gratitude.

Don’t use gratitude to mask your pain.   Rather, once you’ve accessed that stronger, clearer part of yourself; re-aligned your thinking after receiving accurate reflection; taken thoughtful steps in self care – then you will have the perspective and energy to look around and see what you appreciate – a sunrise, a cherished friend, a beautiful melody . . . something that makes you smile.

Once en-couragement has been received, courage is restored.  You are able to continue to find your way, even in the midst of the challenges.

Further thoughts about dealing with disappointment.